Lawmakers Leave Town Without Passing Texas Ban on Texting While Driving

For several years now, Texas has held the dubious distinction of being one of only a handful of states that lack any kind of rules about prohibited texting while driving throughout the state. It appears that Texas will retain that status for at least another year, as another attempt to ban texting behind the wheel died in the Texas Legislature last month when its deadline expired, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Ban on Texting While Driving

The bill lacked the votes it needed to move out of committee and onto the floor, say the senators who supported it. Several supporting legislators, including Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland), called the bill’s demise “a shame” and expressed their concern that texting while driving in Texas will continue to claim lives and cause serious injuries among motorists and others who share Texas roadways.

Supporters of the bill have been attempting to get a ban passed since 2009. The legislature sent a statewide ban to the governor’s desk in 2011, but then-governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill. In 2014, a ban was approved in the state House, but was once again stalled in the Senate transportation committee. Current governor Greg Abbott has not expressed a position for or against a ban on texting while driving.

The proposed bill would have prohibited texting while driving throughout the state. Drivers caught violating the rule would have faced a fine of $99 for the first offense and $200 for additional offenses after the first one.

Rules Against Texting While Driving

Currently, Texas is one of only six states that do not ban texting while driving. Forty Texas cities forbid the practice within city limits, but the state does not have a comprehensive texting while driving law.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that 1 in 4 car accidents in Texas involve a distracted driver. Texting is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction, since it pulls the driver’s hands, eyes and awareness away from the task of driving. Distracted driving caused 18,468 serious car accident injuries and 453 deaths in 2012 alone, according to TxDOT.

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Texting while driving may be considered negligence even though Texas lacks a ban on the behavior. Victims should contact an experienced Austin personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options.